The city of Granada is located near the southern tip of Spain, on the hills at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. An important city during the period of Umayyad rule (756-1031 AD) and under the Almohad and Almoravid dynasties of the twelfth and thirteenth-centuries, Granada is most famous for the palaces within the palatine city of the Alhambra.
Founded by Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr, who escaped to Granada after the Castilian conquest of his native Zaragoza, Granada was the capital of the Nasrid Sultanate, and as such became the last Islamic kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula following the Castilian conquest of al-Andalus in the thirteenth-century.
The medieval city was composed of separate quarters, each with its own mosques and baths. Granada's suburbs developed along the banks of the Darro River, on the plain and hills below the Alhambra. The government functions of the Nasrid rulers were concentrated in the Alhambra, while commercial, religious, and civic institutions were concentrated in Granada proper.
The Albaicín, a walled suburb on the hill opposite that of the Alhambra, is the best-preserved section of the medieval city, but retains only a fraction of the mosques and celebrated courtyard houses that once existed there.
Dickie, James. 1992. "Granada: A Case Study of Arab Urbanism in Muslim Spain." In The Legacy of Muslim Spain, edited by S. K. Jayyusi and M. Marín. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 88-111.
Hermann, Elizabeth Dean. 1996. Urban formation and landscape: symbol and agent of social, political and environmental change in fifteenth-century Nasrid Granada. Harvard Univ.: PhD. Dissertation.
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Roca Roumens, M., Moreno Onorato, M. A. & Lizcano Prestel, R. 1988. El Albaicín y los orígenes de la ciudad de Granada. Granada: Universidad de Granada.
The Palacio de Comares, also called El Palacio de los Arrayanes (Palace of the Myrtles), is one of the two main units that constitute the Alhambra palaces today. It was begun during the reign of Isma'il I and completed during the reign of Muhammad V in 1370. It consists of the rectangular Court of Myrtles (Patio de los Arrayanes), which is abutted to the west by the rectangular Mexuar hall, where state business was conducted, and the Patio of the Cuarto Dorado, used as a throne chamber for the Sultan. To the east the Court abuts a bath complex and the Palace of the Lions.
On the north side of the Patio de los Arrayanes, a gallery gives onto an oblong hall known as La Sala de la Barca (Hall of the Boat). This, in turn, communicates with the majestic Hall of the Ambassadors (Salon de los Embajadores), used by the Nasrids for state receptions. The square-plan Hall is housed within the large crenellated Tower of Comares and contains a wooden vault inlaid with mother-of-pearl stars and alcoves in three walls that provide dramatic views of the landscape beyond.
The Palace is highly ornamented with tile work dados, carved stucco, and inscriptions.
Dickie, James. 1981.The Alhambra: Some Reflections Prompted by a Recent Study by Oleg Grabar. In Studia Arabica et Islamica: Festschrift for Ihsan Abbas on his sixtieth birthday. Ed. Wadad al-Qadi. Beirut: American University Press, 127-49.
Ibid. 1992. The Palaces of the Alhambra. In al-Andalus: the art of Islamic Spain. Edited by Jerrilynn D. Dodds. New York: Abrams, 135-51.
Fernandez Puertas, Antonio. 1997. The Alhambra. 2 v. London: Saqi Books.
Orihuela Uzal, Antonio. 1996. Casas y palacios nazaries: siglos XIII-XV. Seville: Junta de Andalucia, Consejeria de Cultura, Consejeria de Turismo y Deporte; Granada: El Legado Andalusi; Barcelona: Lunwerg Editores.
Ruggles, D.F. 2000. "The Alhambra." In Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 163-208.